Jan 18, 2017

Channel Surfing: Throwing Shade - "Episode 1.1"

Left to right: Erin Gibson and Bryan Safi
Welcome to a new column called Channel Surfing, in which I sporadically look at current TV shows and talk about them. These are not ones that I care to write weekly recaps for and are instead reflections either on the episode, the series, or particular moments. This will hopefully help to share personal opinions as well as discover entertainment on the outer pantheon that I feel is well worth checking out, or in some cases, shows that are weird enough to talk about, but should never be seen.
With the political conversation becoming more pertinent to everyday life, it only seems right that every network wants to have their own satirical take. With last year introducing the heavyweight Full Frontal for the unassuming TBS, TV Land takes up the mantle of least likely channel to have a show full of topical humor with edgy perspectives. Yet they have chosen wisely with Throwing Shade: a show hosted by Erin Gibson and Bryan Safi, who both originated the show of the same name in podcast form years ago. In the interim, the show has essentially taken on a following that shows the cultural relevance of podcasts to reach audiences on a national level.
So, what edge does Throwing Shade have over every other show out there? The podcast had the added benefit of being uncensored without interruptions, and could go on as long as the hosts liked. Cutting it down to a half hour weekly broadcast seems like a task that is a bit difficult to fully understand, but forces the team to put their best foot forward. Their perspective tends to focus on current events related to women and the LGBT community. Both have a sarcasm to their performance that is delightful, balancing intellect with shallow obsession. What they produce on their first episode - which also has a live audience - is a delightful blend of their podcast, but with the added benefit of the visual medium.
It could be that the duo have been working together since 2010 on the short lived comedy news show InfoMania, but their chemistry has a familiarity. While it helps if you know the bits carried over from the podcast, the show sets out to present the weekly news with a comic edge. It's bubbly and scathing, depending on topic. It manages to cut between actual discussion of pressing matters as well as occasional comedy bits, including one that co-stars Will Ferrell. For a late night talk show, it definitely fits into the mold of producing segments that could be consumed in short YouTube video forms; a format that has worked for almost every other commentator of last year's presidential election.
Speaking as satire is likely to become even more important with the inauguration of a new president, it would make sense to try and have a show that encapsulates opinions from unique perspectives. While TV Land doesn't reach quite the audience that the other late night anchors do, one can only imagine that Gibson and Safi's years of building an audience will pay off and help make word of mouth play in their favor. The first episode may have hit weird and rocky bits, but the show's charm is consistently present, with a delightful wink to the camera every now and then. The good news is if you love Throwing Shade the podcast, it will still be there every week. It will also be available in video format, and one can imagine it eventually taking on the same cult following.

No comments:

Post a Comment